Recently, the world was surprised by yet another warning from nature sent by the glaciers of Chile.
Located in Chilean Patagonia, the Hanging Ventisquero had part of its suspended glacier loosened, due to rains and global warming.
According to Fundación Glaciares Chilenos, these formations are fundamental to the natural cycle of water and it is from there that the main reserve of fresh water in the world used for human supply, agriculture and hydroelectric energy production comes from.
KNOW MORE: “Tourists register glacier detachment in Chile”
Home to the largest amount in South America, Chile is home to about 24,000 glaciers, which represents 80% of this formation across the continent.
But what is a glacier?
As the same foundation explains, “they are rivers of ice that form with the constant presence of snow that has fallen over a long period”.
The result is these thick ices that compress into an immense mass, usually with an area of ≥100 m² and an ice depth of approximately ≥50 meters.
While some of them can be as small as a football field, others can be the size of an entire city, like some found in Antarctica.
KNOW CHILE GLACIERS
This Chilean Patagonian classic is located in Queulat National Park (“sound of waterfalls” in the Chonos language), 165 kilometers from Coyhaique.
It is one of the natural attractions that can be seen by those who travel the Carretera AustralisChilean road of 1,240 km, between Puerto Montt, in the Lakes Region, and the distant Villa O’Higgins.
The place is known for its evergreen landscapes, due to the high amount of rainfall in the region, which reaches more than four thousand millimeters per year.
KNOW MORE: “Five reasons to travel along the Carretera Austral, in Chilean Patagonia”
San Rafael Glacier
Located in Aysén, it is one of the largest glaciers in Chile and is part of the Laguna San Rafael National Park, considered the largest protected natural area in Chile.
This attraction, accessible by boat, is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and is home to an ice mass that is more than 30,000 years old and about two kilometers wide (who knows how long).
In fact, the glacier is another classic for anyone visiting the Carretera Austral, access road to glaciers, hanging waterfalls and a sanctuary of ancient marble rocks over extremely crystalline waters.
KNOW MORE: “What to do on Carretera Austral, in Chilean Patagonia”
O’Higgins Glacier (Ventisquero Grande)
With walls over 80 meters high, it is the fourth largest glacier in Patagonia and covers an area of 828 km².
The trip starts in Bahía Bahamondes, 7 kilometers from Villa O’Higgins, the last town on the Carretera Austral. From there, the visitor travels 90 nautical miles (about 166 km), in the midst of Patagonian fjords.
Located in the Aysén region, this glacier has retreated about 15 kilometers in the last century.
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Like the Serrano, this glacier is located in the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park and is one of the most important of the Campos de Gelo do Sul, in the Magalhães region.
In a constant process of retreat, the attraction is a suspended glacier of more than two thousand meters in length.
This impressive tongue of ice is located in Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most popular destinations in Chilean Patagonia.
They are about six kilometers wide and over 30 meters high.
The boats that take tours on the glacier leave from Puerto Natales, the base city for those visiting Torres del Paine.
Pio XI Glacier
The good news is that, despite global warming, this glacier is constantly advancing, that is, its mass continues to expand.
With an area of 1,304 km², in the Magellan Region, Pius XI is the largest in Campo de Hielo Sur and in the entire continent.
Also known as Brüggen or Ana María, Pius XI can be seen during impressive tourist navigations through the Chilean fjords.
SEE TOO: “What a trip through the Patagonian fjords of Chile is like”
El Morado Glacier
At more than 1,750 meters above sea level, this formation is located in Cajón del Maipo, considered “the green lung” of the Chilean capital.
This Chilean Natural Monument in the Santiago Metropolitan Region is known for trekking to its base during the summer season.